Tag Archives: side

Seven Layer Salad

16 Feb

A few weeks ago my friend Erin mentioned that she’d made a Seven Layer Salad, and much like a song you can’t get out of your head, this salad has sat in my mind just begging to be made.  In the 80’s, it seemed like you couldn’t go to a special occasion or a potluck without having a Seven Layer Salad on the table.  It has been YEARS since I had one and couldn’t exactly remember what each of the seven layers were.  After asking a few people, it turns out that there are lots of variations on this salad, each one OFFICIALLY THE BEST.  I’ll take every single person’s word for it.

The basic premise is this – pick six of your favorite ingredients, layer them in a tall-sided glass bowl so that they look beautiful, and top it off with a dressing made of sour cream and mayo.  In deciding what to put in this version, I chose ingredients that I knew would be well received by my family.  Of course, if you are not rigid like me, you could definitely add more than seven layers.  And considering some of the delicious ingredients people have used in their OFFICIALLY THE BEST salads, I would not blame you for making a nine or ten layer salad.  When you’re creating your own layered salad, consider the following ingredients:

  • Romaine lettuce
  • Spinach
  • Mixed greens
  • Green onions
  • Tomatoes
  • Bacon
  • Hard boiled eggs
  • Cucumbers
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Peas
  • Cheese (non-dairy, cheddar, feta, really any cheese because you cannot go wrong with a cheese layer)

For this version, I have also made it non-dairy by substituting non-dairy cheese and non-dairy sour cream (feel free to use dairy versions if you prefer).  The thing about non-dairy products is that sometimes they just don’t taste that great, and since the non-dairy sour cream is such an important part of the dressing, I decided to add in some flavor by using part of packet of Lipton Vegetable Dip Mix.  This dip mix does not contain any dairy, and really adds a lot of good flavor to the dressing.  Add as much or as little as you’d like, I found that about 1/4 of the packet seemed right to me.  The rest of it went into some more sour cream and we ate it with veggies this week.  I would also recommend making the dressing ahead of time so that it has more time to soak up the flavors of the dip mix.  The non-dairy sour cream really needs it, but if you’re using regular sour cream, you may not need that extra time.

This is a big, and hearty salad, but the calories are not super high per serving.  We ate loads of it at dinner, and we’ve been having the leftovers all week.  I was surprised at how well it holds up the next day.  I was also surprised at how good it was for breakfast.

See all that condensation on the inside of the bowl?  That happened because I made it ahead of time and it started to fog up a bit when I set it on the counter to serve it.  After just a few minutes at room temperature, the condensation was all gone.  Of course, so was about half of the salad.

Seven Layer Salad
Serving size: 1 scoop
Serves: 12

SALAD
10 oz. bag romaine
6 eggs, -, cooled, peeled, and sliced
4 strips bacon, cooked, cooled and crumbled
4 Roma tomatoes, seeded and diced
1-1/2 c. shredded non-dairy cheese
1 lb. frozen peas, thawed and drained
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

 

DRESSING
1/2 c. non-dairy sour cream
1/2 c. reduced-fat mayo with olive oil
1/4 packet Lipton Vegetable Dip Mix
1 T. sugar

 

In a small bowl, mix together the dressing ingredients.  Refrigerate for at least one hour or overnight to let the flavors come together.

In large bowl (a flat-sided trifle bowl works great, but any deep bowl will do), layer the salad ingredients.  Press the layers to the outside of the bowl first, then spread evenly any remaining ingredients.  Sprinkle salt and pepper every layer or two.  After all of the salad ingredients have been added, drop spoonfuls of the dressing around the top. Gently spread to the edges, trying not to disturb the cheese layer.  Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

 

Estimated calories:  230 cal/serving

Print it: Non-Dairy Seven Layer Salad

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Creamy Cucumbers with Tomato & Mint

5 Sep

If you have a garden, or if your neighbor has a garden, there’s a good chance that you are staring down a pile of cucumbers.  This time of year, the novelty of fresh cucumbers has worn off just enough that simply salting them and placing them on a plate for a snack or side is no longer enough.  The days of enjoying the crisp light flavor is over, now you need to make your way through them and get everyone else in the neighborhood to do the same.  I picked a few from my mom’s garden this weekend, each one so long that when lined up on the countertop it looked like I was manufacturing temporary peg legs for vegan pirates.  Long cucumber story short: we have a lot of cucumbers.

Many cultures have dishes that combine cream and cucumbers.  One of my favorites comes from my friend Sevda’s mom, who makes a dish with wilted cucumbers, cream and sugar.  It is deliciously light in flavor, but not all that low in calories.  I decided to start out with the same basic approach used in that dish by wilting the cucumbers in salt slightly before assembling the final dish.  To make the dish a bit healthier, I used fat-free Greek yogurt in place of the cream – this added a bit more body, a slightly sour flavor, and some protein to the dish.  And as long as I was making changes, I decided to add some flavors from traditional Turkish cucumber dishes, and threw in some mint and garlic.  The resulting recipe no longer resembled either sources of inspiration, but was a tasty compilation.

Creamy Cucumbers with Tomato & Mint
Serves: 4

2 c. cucumbers, peeled and thinly sliced
Kosher salt
1 c. fat-free Greek yogurt
1/2 c. tomatoes, diced
1/4 c. onions, finely diced
3 cloves garlic, finely minced
2 T. fresh mint, sliced
2 t. honey
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Place the cucumbers in a bowl and sprinkle with salt, stir to combine.  Place in the refrigerator for 30-60 minutes so that the cucumbers will wilt slightly.  Rinse thoroughly, and then drain excess liquid.  Add remaining ingredients and stir to combine.  Salt and pepper to taste.

Estimated Calories:  60 cal/serving

Print it: Creamy Cucumbers

Notes:
– To make this a complete meal, consider adding cooked shrimp or cannellini beans
– To add more nutrients, serve on top of mixed greens
– To soak up the delicious sauce, toast a baguette and rub a clove of garlic over the cut surface, then serve on the side